Perceptual Distance and the Specification of Phonological Features

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33 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presented the results of paired-comparison tests in which subjects were asked to judge similarities between selected consonant and vowel pairs. It was found that subjects in general were quite consistent in their similarity judgments. These judgments were investigated in terms of phonological features. For some features opposite specifications did not affect similarity. The specifications + and were retained for such features. For a number of other features opposite specifications had significant effects on similarity scores. The specifications m and u were introduced for such features. Features specified by m identify classes of sounds which include those which have been considered to be marked. The similarity effect was discussed on the basis of differences of function of the two cars, or the two hemispheres of the cerebral cortex, in speech perception. If the function is nearly equal, sounds are judged to be similar; if the function is unequal, sounds arc judged to be dissimilar. Karger AG, Basel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-45
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1968
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Linguistics and Language


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